Extensive work to reconstruct a stretch of Highway 99 through Madera is nearing completion after two years of traffic headaches, and city and Caltrans leaders will celebrate the $37 million project with a ribbon-cutting ceremony today.
Since September 2011, Granite Construction and the California Department of Transportation have shuffled traffic and lane closures as they worked to rebuild about four miles of the freeway where old concrete was failing. The work zone stretched from Avenue 16 at the north end of Madera to the Gateway Drive/South Madera overcrossing.
"We had a lot of distressed areas" in the truck lanes of the freeway through Madera, said Gloria Rodriguez, a Caltrans spokeswoman. The truck lanes were replaced with new reinforced concrete, and the entire four-lane section plus shoulders are being topped with asphalt for a smoother, improved driving surface.
"We also added a new concrete median barrier, and the median is also a lot wider," Rodriguez said. "In the future, when we widen it to three lanes (in each direction), we have the room to do that and all we'll have to do is re-stripe the lanes."
Rodriguez said Granite Construction still has to install signs and guardrails before all of the work is done. She said Caltrans expects to go through a final project checklist and formally accept the work before the end of the year.
Madera Mayor Rob Poythress is glad to see the work almost finished.
"It really has been disruptive. ... It's had all kinds of variations of traffic flows, opened and closed on- and off-ramps," he said. "It's been a little bit of a mess, but it will be really good when it's done."
"We have to have some short-term pain for long-term gains," Poythress added.
The city also has its own road construction project going nearby as Fourth Street is widened.
The Highway 99 renovation was the first contract in the state awarded by Caltrans as a "design-build" contract, in which Granite Construction was hired not only to build the project, but also to draw up the engineering plans. Traditionally, California highway projects have been awarded for construction after Caltrans has fully designed and engineered the work.
View Highway 99 reconstruction in a larger map
Road 19 closure
Also in Madera County, Caltrans announced that a one-mile portion of Road 29 south of Madera will be closed to traffic starting Oct. 30 through Jan. 2.
The extended closure between Avenue 12 and Avenue 13 is related to the ongoing project to rebuild the Avenue 12 overcrossing above Highway 99. Crews will build new irrigation pipelines and culverts across Road 29 and create a new alignment to connect Road 29 with Avenue 12 just east of the highway.
A suggested detour routes traffic on Avenue 12 west to Highway 145, north to Avenue 13, and east to Road 29.
If you go
What:Ribbon-cutting ceremony for Highway 99 rehabilitation
When: 11 a.m. today
Where: Rotary Park Pavilion, Gateway Drive south of Cleveland Avenue, Madera
Other details: Speakers include local elected officials and representatives of local agencies. Refreshments will be provided. The event is open to the public.
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